Definition of subliminal in US English:



  • (of a stimulus or mental process) below the threshold of sensation or consciousness; perceived by or affecting someone's mind without their being aware of it.

    • ‘An audio subliminal message could be defined as a verbal stimulus perceived below the threshold of awareness.’
    • ‘In lay terms, he is interested in how subliminal information can be conveyed.’
    • ‘A number of these studies have used subliminal stimuli to produce the increase in positive affect.’
    • ‘As is typical with this method, no participant reported being aware of the subliminal faces.’
    • ‘Designed to work on a subliminal level, after the event it grows in the mind's eye rather than fading from memory.’
    subconscious, unconscious
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Late 19th century: from sub- ‘below’ + Latin limen, limin- ‘threshold’ + -al.